Grandpa W as a young man. (Digititzed by Rob Gard)

On Sundays before I was old enough to drive myself home from church, Mom dragged me and my brothers over to her parent’s house where Grandpa would lure us into the basement to show us his latest inventions. The stairs were narrow and steep, more suited to a ship than a house. We were one clumsy footstep away from entering his workshop head-first through its locked door.

On the other side of the door waited the most organized clutter I have ever seen: rows of cigar boxes, meticulously labeled cabinets, a drill press, a jig saw, a table saw, and the occasional pinup poster. The scent of machine oil, metal, and wood shavings competed with the basement’s musty odor.

Grandpa opened the closet at the back and pulled out several boxes. His latest treasure wasn’t always at the top, but he always knew exactly where it was. When he unwrapped it on his workbench, it often looked like a long board with wires, batteries, lights, transistors, and motors. He flipped a few switches and a doll head spun while lights blinked and things whirled. Many times, it looked like the guts of a pinball machine minus the more interesting parts: flippers, silver ball, score board.

“Isn’t that the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?” he asked us.

I agreed, probably more heartily that I should have.

As a result of several heart attacks and more bypass surgeries than I can remember, Grandpa walked several miles every morning. He managed to find the oddest discarded items to incorporate into his latest “invention.”

Now that I’m older, I see a direct link between my quirky creativity and strange sense of humor and those inventions in Grandpa’s workshop. My mind is constantly moving, creating inventories of everyday items, finding the bizarre in the mundane. My grandpa saw the potential in every object, especially the things that were broken and discarded. My writing style is a lot like that.

I’ve tried to stick to one genre, but I find myself wandering into mysteries, flirting with science fiction, wrangling westerns, segueing into fantasies while blending elements of all the above. To top off the crazy, I inherited a dry sense of humor from my father, and friends tell me that my thoughts quickly turn dark and twisted.

All of this is a circuitous path to a straightforward conclusion. If you came here looking for Literature (notice the uppercase), you will be disappointed. These stories are ephemeral in every sense of the word. I hope you will find them entertaining. If you like them enough, perhaps you could share with a friend. Otherwise, you won’t hurt my feelings if you forget everything you saw here. Some things in life are with you for the long-haul; others are more short term. These stories fall into the latter category.

Welcome to my mind. Isn’t it the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?